Author(s): Elif KORAP ÃZEL
The most widespread practice in participatory journalism by Turkish national newspapers today is undoubtedly readers’ comments, and many national newspapers give them space on their websites. Readers’ comments undeniably make a contribution to citizen participation, but if they are inadequately monitored, they can result in the publication of uncontrolled unethical speech. In this study, semi-structured interviews were conducted with twelve journalists employed by the newspapers Hürriyet, Milliyet, Sabah, Habertürk and Sözcü, and the ethical problems encountered in readers’ comments were determined. The findings of the study showed that these problems could be grouped into seven main categories. According to the journalists, the most important ethical problems seen in readers’ comments were hate speech, cyber bullying and terrorism propaganda, while sharing advertising content, violations of privacy, digital surveillance and censorship of readers’ comments also emerged as other ethical problems. The journalists thought that there was a direct relationship between news discipline and the rate of ethical violations in readers’ comments. Most ethical violations in readers’ comments were made on political, page three and sports news.